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» VIEW ALL POSTS Feb 4 2009   6:17PM GMT

ESX host memory: share the wealth



Posted by: Alex Barrett
Tags:
memory virtualization
RNA Networks

This week’s launch of RNA Networks and its memory virtualization technology may not mean much for VMware administrators yet, but give it a couple years, and the technology could have broad implications for how you buy and configure your virtual host servers.

The idea behind RNA’s product, RNAmessenger, is to decouple the memory in a server, and to put it in a resource pool that can be accessed by several machines in times of need. The technology consists of a driver that gets installed in a server, plus control software that runs on an appliance.

For now, RNA is targeting applications like hedge fund programmed trading, 3D rendering and oil and gas reservoir modeling — classic high performance computing (HPC) applications with high volume, low-latency requirements. But fast forward a couple of years and another possible use case for the technology is to distribute memory across hosts in a virtual cluster, said Frank Tycksen, RNA vice president of engineering. .

Virtualization hosts, like a lot of high performance platforms, tend to run out of memory long before they run out of CPU power, he explained. But memory, unfortunately, tends to be prohibitively expensive. Thus, rather than buy additional memory, wouldn’t it be preferable if you could tap in to the excess memory of another host in your resource pool?

That could alleviate some of the pressure to purchase servers stuffed to the brim with expensive RAM. “Our goal is to help you become CPU-bound, rather than memory-bound,” said Tycksen.

But interested parties should not hold their breath; “this is future technology,” warned Andy Mallinger, RNA’s vice president of marketing.

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